One Tough Cookie

8 Feb

I am a serious chinese food junkie, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve tried many different chinese restaurants but I’ve never really found one with a truly memorable fortune cookie. They can be sickly sweet, stale, saturated with lemon, or like cardboard and I only ever really eat them because I feel obliged to after cracking it open for the fortune.

For my Religion and Philosophy final I wanted to do something special. I’d already made Challah for my project on Judaism and a cake decorated like a Tibetan sand mandala for my Buddhism project so I wanted to think of something for the philosophical half of the class. After much debate I came up with the idea for fortune cookies (bet you didn’t see that coming!)

I found a few different recipes, but I ended up combining a few different ones in order to get the best result. I enlisted the help of three of my friends and after a quick lunch of grilled cheeses for energy we started to make the batter. We had no idea what lay ahead…

I didn’t take pictures of making the batter since it was all a little crazy, but I think the pictures are more important to illustrate the folding process. But basically the batter consists of  egg whites, sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, water and flour. You could easily add cocoa powder or citrus extracts for flavour or food colourings for colour (pink for valentine’s day perhaps?) Once the batter is mixed it should be the consistency of pancake batter.

Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. A while ago I got some reuseable parchment paper which is an absolute lifesaver. You use it as many times as you want, things never stick, and you just rinse it once you’re done. Too bad I don’t remember where I got it. Anyway, take a spoonful of batter and flatten it out into a circle on the pan and place it in the oven for a few minutes.

The recipes I found said 5-7 minutes but I think it took me 12 minutes with my oven. Basically, cook until the edges are brown but NOT black. We don’t want burnt edges! You’ll want to start out with one fortune cookie until you get the technique down, and then you can get about 3 done in a minute after some practice.

When you take them out of the oven they should be nice and bubbly and soft. Oh yeah, they’ll also be so hot that when you are forced to shape them with your hands you have the strong urge to yell, cry, and throw the cookie all at once. But, you must be strong, forget about your poor fingers, and curse yourself fo not investing in a pair of “Ove-Gloves”. You flip the disk over and pick up a slip of paper…

from your pile of handwritten philosophical quotes…

Place it in the centre of the cookie, pull up the two sides parallel and pinch together. They should stick together so you’ll have a half-circle shape. Using your other hand, pull down the two sides of the cookie. This is a lot easier when you use the edge of a glass.

Then take it off the glass and hold together firmly until pretty solid. Then run to your sink and run your fingers under the cold water and dread the thought of making dozens more. 

Once you stop being a wuss and get the hang of things, you might actually begin to enjoy yourself. I know that as soon as my fortune cookies went from looking like oversized monsters to petite works of art, and I started getting a good supply of them, I got excited.

When I was all done, and my plate was filled all I wanted to do was sit and marvel at these amazing little cookies.

Despite the fact that these things were some of the most difficult cookies I’ve ever made, I think they are also the most beautiful. Plus, when I brought them to class everyone loved them, and I (embarrassingly) got a round of applause. They also tasted as good as they looked, the extra vanilla I put in made a big difference! While I don’t think I’ll be making them again any time soon, I won’t write them off for good. At least until I buy a machine that will shape them for me. 😉

The recipe was basically this:

I used 1 tsp of vanilla extract and no almond extract. I also ended up putting about twice as much water in too since it came out a little lumpy.


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